WAY TO WELLNESS #29
Like other areas of the body, your mouth teems with bacteria — mostly harmless. But your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts, and some of these bacteria can cause disease.
Certain medications — such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics and antidepressants — can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbes that multiply and lead to disease.
Studies suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with a severe form of gum disease (periodontitis) might play a role in some diseases. And certain diseases, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can lower the body’s resistance to infection, making oral health problems more severe.
To protect your overall health and wellness, practice good oral hygiene daily.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush using fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss daily.
- Use mouthwash to remove food particles left after brushing and flossing.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit food with added sugars.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if bristles are splayed or worn.
- Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
- Avoid tobacco use.
Also, contact your dentist as soon as an oral health problem arises. Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.